Mighty Max (Dodge Ram 50) - New guy. Hello!

Atamis

New member
Greetings from SE Idaho! Discovered this place not too long ago and it seems like the perfect place to discuss what I've been wanting to do for a long time. Didn't know overlanding was a thing nor did i know there were entire routes across America for this.

I have this little pickup I've been tinkering on with the intention of it being a very capable vehicle for exploring the surrounding national parks and sights. I had in mind making it as self reliant as possible, and then when i found this place and now have a further vision. I don't think this little 2wd compact will be braving other countries, but I think its an excellent start point as i am not very confident making my own repairs yet. I will be doing all the major repairs I can on this to build my skill set and thankfully everything is mechanical on this! I will also be fabricating a few components that i want with the limited tools i have. Hoping I won't catch much flak here for asking advice in one of the forums as i'll have plenty of basic noob questions i am sure.
I don't expect this to be an ideal vehicle, or one truly adventure ready and capable. I see it as a middle ground in getting to the overlanding skill level before i step into something else a bit more maintenance and fabrication intensive. I have seen some beautiful heavy vehicles i wish to emulate in time.

It is a Dodge Branded, Mitsubishi Mighty Max with a 2.3L turbo diesel born in 1983.
Right now the truck doesn't run. I have spent the last two weeks sorting out fluids, cleaning, and chasing wires the best i could. I finally got to a point i felt confident in turning the key, and the starter solenoid lost all of its smoke. Other than that i have feel confident it will roar as it seems to be taken care of before being left to rot in a field. I do have some rust holes in the floor I will need to attend to, I planned to take it to a body shop nearby that specializing in this type of repair as the holes are all directly around the cab mounting pillars. My welding isn't the best, and i feel this should be stronger than the cratered mess i tend to make.
I have removed the carpet and tossed it. Not only was it rotting (actually had moss growing in it!), but it make it very difficult to clean out! I was looking into lining the floor with sound/heat shield material and then laying down some sort of bed liner on top, would love to see what others have done regarding carpet removal.
The dash has also rotted away thanks to sun damage, I still have it, but its extremely brittle. I was looking for ways to cut out the few components molded to the dash and rebuild the HUD with panels and have it look less than dangerous and janky.
Farther into the future I want to pull the bed off and replace it with an Aussie Ute styled one. I am also looking at replacing the bumpers with something frame mounted and a bit more stout. I have a design in mind, i just need to figure out how to bend heavy gauge steel. and how best to mount it.

Thanks for having me folks! Hope to learn a bunch!
 

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Toasty

Expedition Leader
Welcome! If the timing belt hasn't been done you should really get on that. Also all of the Hyundai 2.5L parts are great performance and reliability upgrades for you.
 

Atamis

New member
I didn't replace the timing belt, but I did remove the cover and give it a good look over. It looks to be in good shape, wasn't cracked or dry at all. None of the teeth really looked worn and it was still timed properly. I'm still looking for a belt so i can replace it. Haven't been able to find a good part number.

Glad to see some Maxs here! Information seems sparse online and I always have to ask questions to other owners instead! Do you have a link to a thread on yours? Would love to see what others have done to theirs.
 

Atamis

New member
So it turns out the camshaft is heavily worn, and I suspect theres more worn out parts below. I really hope those 2.5L Hyundai parts turn out to fit good and I'm hoping the salvage yard has some sitting around.
 

plh

Explorer
2.5L Hyundai parts? I do not think the D4BF 2.5L parts will swap to a 4D55 2.3L, or are you thinking about a total engine swap? And I seriously doubt there would be any Hyundai diesels in a salvage yard in the USA or Canada being they were not in any production vehicle here.

There are more people on this forum with better knowledge than me on the 4D55s, but IIRC the '83 is a bit unique (head, pistons, injection pump - probably other bits) and they do not even swap between other year 4D55s
 

Atamis

New member
No, Toasty up above mentioned that the 2.5l parts were upgrades, unless he meant complete components instead of parts.
I was unaware there was a significant difference in production years, the truck was made in 1983 but its listed as a 1984 model if that makes a difference. I was also looking at importing parts if needed, i briefly looked for a camshaft and found quiet a few in the UK, and a few were listed as 2.5l hyundai as well. Complete engine swap is a bit out of my budget and experience right now sadly. just taking 5his camshaft out was breaking new ground!
 

plh

Explorer
No, Toasty up above mentioned that the 2.5l parts were upgrades, unless he meant complete components instead of parts.
I believe Toasty did a complete head swap. I'm sure he will chime in at some point.
 

Atamis

New member
If the entire head fits that might be a good option also. The bearing surfaces probably got roasted as well, so a head would be good to have, especially if it has bearings instead.
 

Toasty

Expedition Leader
I did a Hyundai 4D56 head and early Delica 4D56 injection pump. I found the info on a delica forum in what parts to get as far as the best stuff. I'm thinking my engine was an '84, also google Mike Warme and try to reach out to him. He is a wealth of knowledge, my memory sucks so don't go by my my words ask Mike.
 
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